Kalapini Komkali talks about her father and guru Kumar Gandharva

By Snigdha Hasan | Mumbai

Kalapini Komkali talks about being the daughter and disciple of the late legend Kumar Gandharva and the cultivated art that Indian classical music

When she speaks about Indian classical music as the fulcrum of her life, Kalapini Komkali's immersion in the tradition is palpable. On the day the noted singer arrives in Mumbai for a classical monsoon melodies concert at the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalya, we speak to Dewas-based Komkali, whose widely recognised rich and original voice bears testimony to her musical upbringing.

"The question of having another approach to music doesn't arise because I have been brought up with that thought. My parents have been my gurus, and while they imparted this approach to their disciples, their vision was broad enough to not impose their musical style on anyone," says Komkali about her father and legendary classical singer, Kumar Gandharva, known for his refusal to be tied down to one particular gharana, and mother, Vidushi Vasundhara Komkali, another eminent musician.

"But this openness doesn't entail going about one's life and working with abandon; it is worthwhile only when it comes with the responsibility of defining one's parameters of independence. In music, too, this freedom comes with a sense of responsibility," she continues, recalling fond memories from her childhood, where she not only had early exposure to music, but to music of a truly high standard.

"People assume that having a musical background means things get handed on a silver platter, which is not the case. Indian classical music doesn't talk to you on its own; you have to approach it and try to grasp it. It is a thoughtfully cultivated art," she says. About the concert, she says that performing at a museum is a different experience from performing in an auditorium. "The venue is a beautiful one with a great heritage. I have been visiting CSMVS for long, and I feel honoured to be invited to be a part of their monsoon concert series."

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